Today, Microsoft launched Exchange 2010 in public beta. The popular server software, which works with Outlook to make e-mail and calendars accessible on a plethora of mobile devices, boasts lower operating costs than the current version, Exchange 2007. A series of new features also address another problem: distracting office e-mails. Lower Operating Costs Exchange 2010 does several things to lower costs for businesses. For one, IT managers will have more choices in licensing and delivery options. Specifically, they can choose to deploy Exchange on premises, as a service from Microsoft and its partners, or both. Secondly, direct-attached storage has dropped in price, which Microsoft estimates can save companies up to 85 percent on storage costs. The server also promises better disaster recovery software, which will save companies time (and possibly money) on calls to their IT departments. Better E-Mail Etiquette, Guaranteed The most fascinating thing about Exchange 2010 is that in addition to cutting costs, it promises to reign in distracting office e-mails. For instance, users can press a “mute” button to remove themselves from conversations on which they’ve been unnecessarily CC’d. Conversely, MailTips warn users before committing an e-mail no no, such as sending a mass message to, say, the whole office. Don’t like it when people leave you voice mails? View text previews of your messages in your inbox. On the efficiency front, users can choose to view their messages as grouped conversations (a la Gmail). Microsoft also made improvements to Outlook’s Web and mobile interfaces, to give more of a universal interface. Finally, users can create “Press 1 for…” calling menus for their phone systems. E-mail Archiving and Compliance Finally, Exchange 2010 ushers in an integrated e-mail archive, which is designed to help businesses comply with regulations that dictate how long they must save correspondence. Upcoming Microsoft Announcements The company also announced the imminent availability of other products: Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010, and Microsoft Project 2010. These will enter technical preview in the third quarter of this year, and will begin shipping in the first half of 2010. Exchange 2010 is available now in public beta. No pricing information for the final version is available at this time.